Buying Your First Home
By Jeremy Hart, NRVLiving.com and Coldwell Banker Townside, Realtors Blacksburg, VA
So you want to buy your ﬁrst home? You’ve got a good job, you’ve saved up for a downpayment, and the house band the tenants
upstairs started six months ago is progressively getting worse instead of better. Yes, it might be time to consider buying your ﬁrst
home. This is part one of a four part post that covers the general steps to buying your ﬁrst home, and covers things like determining
what you can aﬀord, getting a loan, ﬁnding a house and handling inspections, and more.
Reprinted from http://www.NRVLiving.com/2010/05/17/part-one-buying-your-ﬁrst-home/
Getting Started – just because they say you’re qualiﬁed for $350000
doesn’t mean you have to spend that much. And a local
I’m biased, of course, but I think that the New River lender knows our market … out of town lenders are
Valley is a pretty good place to consider buying your ﬁrst looking at numbers on a computer screen to determine
home. Low tax rates, good median price points and a whether or not they’ll lend money in a particular market.
wide mix of products (i.e. houses) makes the NRV a pretty In an area like ours, where the patterns of Virginia Tech
balanced place to get and Radford University dictate so much of the real estate
started. Buying a traﬃc, having a lender who knows the trends can make
home isn’t for things much easier when it comes time to fund the loan.
everyone, however – I
know it’s sacrilege for
a real estate agent to I’m
say that, but the
truth is that if you’re
not going to be in the home for at least three years then
buying a home right now probably doesn’t make good
ﬁnancial sense. There are closing costs when you buy,
closing costs when you sell, and owning a home costs
So the lender has given you a preapproval letter and said
money in between – so if you don’t see being in the NRV
that, based on your credit report, you’re pre-approved for
for at least three years, it might make sense to rent – but
a loan of some amount. Notice they say that the ﬁnal
we can run through your situation, if you’d like.
approval is subject to things like another credit report,
W-2s, and more, but for now the pre-approval is good.
The very ﬁrst thing I’m going to recommend someone do
From here, we know what you can get a loan for, what
before contacting an agent will be to get preapproved
you’re comfortable actually paying for, and we can go
with a local lender (here’s a good one). I highlight both
for a couple of reasons … ﬁrst, a preapproval looks at not
just your income and your expenses, but veriﬁes them
Well, ﬁrst you need to ﬁnd a real estate agent who’s full-
against your credit score sothat you know what a lender
time, who knows the Blacksburg/Christiansburg/Radford
is willing to oﬀer. Don’t be shocked by the number, though
area, and who you’re comfortable working with … there, that’s out of the way. (yes, that was in fact a shameless,
Once your pre-approval is done and you’ve selected your real estate agent, it’s time to sit down and look at what’s on the
market. The New River Valley real estate market is relatively small – we sell a little more than 2000 homes every year, but
it’s still next to impossible to see every single home that’s on the market. In one Christiansburg neighborhood alone there
are more than 60 homes for sale … only with a lot of time, the memory of an elephant and nothing else coming on the
market could you see all of them! And in truth, searching for 3 bedroom, 2 bath homes in Blacksburg under $250000 is
going to get you a lot of options, and so we need to spend some time really working through what the important items
are for your home search. Are hardwood ﬂoors a must-have, or nice-to-have? Should we leave out oil heat, or add in
Cape Cods? Want a place that has a ﬁreman’s pole? (That’s not a searchable criteria, but it’d still be a cool feature!)
Anyway, weeding through things and determining what criteria to use when searching for homes is an important next
step, and will ultimately make choosing the right home much easier.
In order to buy your ﬁrst home, you need to start laying a solid foundation. Get preapproved through a local lender, work
with an agent who’s full-time and who knows their market, and spend some time working through the myriad of search
options available to a home buyer. I promise, you’ll be on better footing for it in the end.
Questions? Comments? Contact me at jeremy at NRVLiving dot com, or ﬁnd me online!
Part Two will cover the process of actually making an oﬀer on a property. You can also check out Timetable to purchasing
a home, as well as What To Expect At Settlement.
Jeremy Hart a licensed real estate agent atColdwell Banker Townside Realtors in Blacksburg, Virginia, and founding member of
NRVLiving Real Estate. If interested, his license number is #0225077937, and heʼs been a licensee in good standing of the New River
Valley Association, the Virginia Association, and the National Association of Realtorssince January 2004. You can contact him at
jeremy at nrvliving dot com.
Disclaimer: Iʼm just a real estate agent and while Iʼm one piece of the puzzle, donʼt forget to consult your attorney, tax professional
and librarian before making a ﬁnancial or real estate decision. It should be noted that the articles in this blog are solely my opinion, and
likewise those who leave comments are providing their opinions, as well.. These are not the opinions of Coldwell Banker Townside
Realtors, their afﬁliates or any employee thereof. Coldwell Banker Townside has been gracious in allowing me the freedom to discuss
real estate in whatever way I choose, but they are not responsible for the content included herein. Any information or statistics I post
are deemed accurate, but are not guaranteed. I will also not sell or release your email address to anyone unless ordered to do so by a
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